Canyon Log

The canyon log is my chronological account of the various canyon trips that I have been fortunate enough to partake, and in some cases, lead. 

Sydney is blessed with an abundance of rugged bush land less than two hours drive away, and in this bush land lie some of the most pristine and delicate environments that can be found. 
Visiting these places may require no more than a simple walk along a creek, or demand bush craft and navigation skills just to get there. 

These trips are 'canyon' trips which involves starting high in the range and following a creek or stream as it carves it's way down to the river valley. The Kanangra canyons are generally fairly open and following these is an exercise in abseiling and scrambling. The beauty of this area is the panoramic views along the Kanangra Walls and valleys. The incredible ruggedness of the area.

Blue Mountains canyons like Claustral, cut deep into the sandstone below them and over time have worn channels and gutters, deep enough that direct sunlight never reaches the bottom. Walking and swimming through these is a magical tour through a ferny green wonderland. A visit to the lost planet. 

I have kept these notes as a reminder to myself of the individual trips, as well as to provide 'some' useful information for following excursions, or to supply to others planning similar outings. 

Earlier trips are documented on my original canyons page, and other trips are indexed on my main canyoning page

As I have been hap-hazardly adding pictures lately, these pages are best viewed at a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels !

Tiger Snake
Honeywell Group
29th June 2002
Vert. Elev: 200m
Distance : 10km
Time (approx.) 6 hrs :
a relaxed start

Other Sources of information on this area : Canyons Near Sydney (Rick Jamieson)

Images from Tiger Snake (June 2002)
All images courtesy Shane Norton A couple of narrow sections and once agaon the floor begins to drop sharply and the most amazing sight of an arch or keyhole within the depths of the canyon comes to view. I'm guessing this is probably where the 25m abseil comes in (but I'm happy to be corrected). The walls forming the chamber beyond here narrow quickly again and some tight sections follow just before we emerged into the daylight once again. Giant spindly ferns towered above us as we walked 100m or so through the filtered light, following the left hand wall of the canyon, until we came to a very large undercut section forming a dark cave. A small chamber right at the back of the cave contains a few glow worms. (but not many). We corssed to the other side of the canyon and quickly identified the route up and out. Nice easy going, up to the ridge top between out canyon and Deans Ck.
I must admit I was a little skeptical this trip was going to work out OK. My canyoning diary has been very sparsly filled this year and with the weather as cold as it's been over the last few weeks, I was surprised at the enthusiasm the guys at work showed. Last week end Patrick, Margot, Ben and I forewent a canyon in prefference for a long walk (from Berowra to Brooklyn) and dinner at the pub. This week end however, there was no escaping the inevitable. The weather forecast looked 'promising'. That is, it promised a minimum of 1C and a max. of 4C. Brrr....

I had been eyeing the Tiger Snake description in the book over the last week or so and also monitoring the discussions in the OzCanyons email list. Andrew and Ben had even bought their own harnesses now, so there was no longer any excuse to put it off.

Nicole and the 'Evil' Patrick
Andrew even emailed Ian Knap to compare 'girth'size and evaluate his suitablilty for this trip.

To maximise the daylight, We all met at the Zig Zag at around 07:15 and drove in a three car convoy to the car park on the Old Coach Road. (I was the last to get ready ...).

Pre armed with some excellent track notes from Terry and Linda, we marched off into the fine morning with high spirits and little expectation of the day to come.

I must note here, that at the time of writing, the track in is very obviouse. Mostly it is old 4WD track and eventually it peters out into a meandering foot pad leading right to the 1st pitch.

We harnessed up quickly and carefully and decided abseiling in was just awkward and down climbing by far the best option. A short drop inside left me standing in a shallow pool of absolutley fridgid water. (Did I mention the snow on the ground and sheets of ice accross the puddles on the way in ?).

Just beyond this a slight constriction opens up to another chamber with what was our 1st abseil for the day, (from the bundle of logs plaed across the canyon).

Nicole starts down the 1st pitch
Again, this drop could be easily down climbed and ends in another shallow pool. The canyon here become quite tight for a few twists and suddenly emerges into the sunlight again at a fine ledge over the 17m overhang. We found 17m to be the magic number. Our 15m rope definitly too short. With this pitch behind us, we made our way down stream for 500 odd meters, enjoying the lush bushy surrounds. Almost without warning, the dry creek bed dips into a cleft between two rocks and we found ourselves at the 1st pitch of the second section. From the guide, I understand we could have continued along the top of the canyon, on the left hand side to find a long abseil into the bowels. We opted instead to pitch in from the cleft. A convinient sling was already tied around a large flake and offered suitable anchor for the short narrow drop into the darkness below. Another pool of knee deep, bone chilling water. Following on from here is a most impressive section of canyon. Dark. Steep. Green...
Ben descending from the rotting twigs

Wit, Patrick, Ben,Andrew,Steve, Nicole (photo - Shane)
Happy with our relaxed progess we dropped packs and lunched, enjoying the views and sunshine.

Following the track back was easy. (Dissapointingly the many arrows and 'EXIT' notes scratched at many points along the way back, did much to detract from the thrill of discovery, or the satisfaction of 'working it out for ourselves').

The Pagoda's offer sensational views !

top of the 17m pitch
Withouth even trying, we managed to be back at the cars in under 6 hrs, which left us with time to relax at the Imperial on the way home. Definitley a great way to spend a beautifull winters day !
Steve starting the 17m pitch

Smurf Patrick

1st pitch, 2nd section

not so squeezy!

Hey You two! Get a room !

A nice arch! (aka DN)

Shane astride the arch

the 'Evil' Patrick watches from a distance